BMC’s ambitious virtual classroom project fails to take off

No Internet connectivity, out-of-order computers are recurring problems

Mumbai | Published: February 17, 2014 2:01:09 am

The ambitious virtual classroom project of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), a brainchild of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, has failed to take off with internet connectivity issues hampering its implementation in more than half the civic schools.

Civic education committee chairman and BJP corporator Manoj Kotak said the project was failing due to technical glitches. “In some cases, we found that internet connectivity is weak or computers are not working. Despite resolving these issues time and again, technical glitches crop up again. In its first year itself, the project is having huge hurdles,” said Kotak.

“We keep getting repeated complaints that there are technical glitches in almost all the schools. While in some cases, the contractor has managed to solve the connectivity problems, in most cases, they keep recurring,” said a senior civic official.
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte had praised the project in his 2014-15 budget speech.

“The project is effectively being used to impart soft skills such as communication, personality development, confidence building as well as to teach fundamental principles of mathematics and science,” Kunte had said.

The education department, through four studios, has extended the interactive education system of virtual classes in 480 primary and secondary schools of Marathi, Hindi, English and Urdu medium.

“Audio-visual education imparted in 360 primary and 120 secondary schools by relay of lectures from teachers and experts proved to be more effective,” Kunte had stated in his budget speech.

The project, which is estimated to cost around Rs 27 crore, has been allotted Rs 13 crore for 2014-15 fiscal. Of the total, Rs 8.12 crore budgetary provision has been made for primary and Rs 4.5 crore for secondary schools.

Kotak, however, said instead of spending crores on a project that has failed to take off even after a year of implementation, the BMC should think of more viable alternatives.

“Projects such as e-learning are less expensive, and do not need an internet connection for implementation,” said Kotak.

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